Types of compressor – Screw vs Piston

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Compressors come in all shapes and sizes but there are certain styles of compressor relating to exactly how ther produce and deliver the compressed air. In this article we will be looking at the 2 most common types, Piston Compressors and Screw compressors

Piston Compressor

Piston compressors operate through a positive displacement of air. In other words pistons are driven by a crank shaft which compresses the air coming in through the manifold.

As the piston moves up and down air is drawn in through the inlet port. It then moves back into the chamber compressing the air inside while the flow valves close the inlet port and open the outlet port.

Piston compressors are generally noisy and inexpensive with a limited lifespan, especially if not maintained properly. Silenced versions are available but are considerably more expensive.

Screw Compressor

Screw compressors again use a positive displacement method. They are normally used in situations where there is a requirement for a much greater volume of air supply. The air is compressed by means of two meshing helical screws, known as rotors. There can be oil and oil free versions of this compressor. Its operation makes for a compact but efficient compressor.

The rotary screw compressor is normally much quieter than the piston compressor with the ability to provide much greater outputs.